Just over 18 months ago Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said he found having to talk to Google Glass out loud “the weirdest thing” and admitted that there would be “places where Google Glass are inappropriate.” Well, hello! I think the average person could have told Google this long before they spent millions developing the thing, and as I wrote at the time, the product was simply incapable of becoming a mass-market device. I predicted it would become this era’s Segway: hyped as a game changer but ultimately used by warehouse workers and mall cops. Indeed, Glass might well be our surveillance era’s perfect pairing.
Now Reuters has uncovered clear evidence that app developers are dropping the device.
Nine of the 16 app Glass app makers that Reuters contacted admitted they’d abandoned their efforts. Meanwhile, “The Glass Collective,” a venture fund backing Glass apps has gone and now redirects to the Glass page, while three of Google’s key employees on the Glass team have departed.
Admittedly, Facebook and OpenTable are among the larger developers persevering with Glass and remain two of the 100 apps on the official Glass web site — though the official Twitter app has been withdrawn.
Meanwhile, Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently went to a red-carpet event without his normally ever-present Glass. Signs the product is ready for the chop?
Reuter’s sources say a full consumer launch may now be “delayed” to 2015. Google’s people say a consumer launch is still on.
But I think we can safely say that, even if Google did launch it to consumers, the simplest thing for Google to do now would be to release the underlying technology for startups to hack around with.
Industrial applications – building and manufacturing, security, training – could be the future for Glass. Indeed, Taco Bell and KFC are considering Glass as a potential training method for employees. And five developers that have joined the programme are all in the enterprise space.
Goodbye red carpet, hello Mall Cops and McDonald’s.